Chasing Ten With Christopher Johnson
How long have you been going light?
As soon as I began backpacking five years ago, I knew I needed to lighten the load I was carrying. I was unaware at the time that ultralight backpacking existed and did the best I could with the information I had. In 2017 I completely revamped my kit before an end-to-end hike of the Northville-Placid Trail and haven’t looked back.
What’s the base weight of your pack before adding consumables like food and fuel?
12.73 lb with camera gear, 10.51 lb without camera gear.
Beyond the “The Ten” items, what other kinds of gear do you make room for, and why?
Anything my dog doesn’t carry for herself, such as her coat during the Winter months, her paw wax, and extra food during longer stretches in between towns on a thru hike or at the beginning of a multi-day hike in a wilderness area (4-7 days). I also carry a lighter weight DSLR as well as the associated gear.
Are you currently foregoing any of the ten pieces?
What has achieving this low base weight done for your trips outdoors? How has it impacted the way you travel?
Lowering my base weight has radically revolutionized the way I backpack. While conventional wisdom states that I’m able to cover more miles throughout longer days with less effort, it has also allowed me to be a better hiking partner for my dog. With a lighter pack, I am in a position to carry her extra gear and food when necessary, most of her gear to give her a little break to “slackpack” while on a thru hike, or even all of her gear on hotter Summer days.